Ivy Compton-Burnett was born in Pinner, Middlesex, England on June 5, 1884. She studied classics at Royal Holloway College, London University, where she graduated in 1906. After publishing her first novel, Dolores, in 1911 she went on to become a prolific writer. Her other works include Pastors and Masters, Brothers and Sisters, Men and Wives, The Mighty and Their Fall, More Women Than Men, A House and Its Head, Manservant and Maidservant, and Two Worlds and Their Ways. In 1956, she won the James-Tait Black Memorial Award for Fiction for Mother and Son. In 1967, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She died on August 27, 1969.
Diane Johnson is an American-born novelist and essayist. A two-time finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in three different genres--essay, biography,and fiction--she is the author of the bestselling novel Le Divorce, a 1997 National Book Award finalist, as well as twelve other books, including the novels Persian Nights, Health and Happiness, Lying Low, The Shadow Knows, and Burning (all available in Plume editions). She is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and splits her time between San Francisco and Paris.